SoftBank to enter robot business: sources

SoftBank Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son attends a news conference in Tokyo on May 7, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
SoftBank Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son attends a news conference in Tokyo on May 7, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - SoftBank Corp is developing robots and will use them in its cel

lphone stores, two people with knowledge of the situation said, becoming the first Japanese mobile operator to enter the robot business.

SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son will announce the plan at a press conference at 0400 GMT, the sources said.

The Japanese company will use technologies developed by Aldebaran, a French company in which it took a stake in 2012, they added.

A timeframe was not immediately clear but the Nikkei business daily said SoftBank would introduce the robots at some of its stores around this summer to converse with customers.

The Nikkei said production of the robots would be outsourced to Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Hon Hai group.

With Japan's population rapidly aging, the government hopes companies can offset the decline in the labour force by utilising robotics technology.